As the anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches this January 22, bishops are calling Catholics nationwide to unite in prayer through a pro-life novena beginning January 17.
9 Days for Life is the novena project initiated under the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The novena lasts from January 17 to January 25.
A Franciscan University alumna, Anne McGuire, who is working on the project, shares with The Troubadour more information about 9 Days for Life and how to get involved.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with the 9 Days for Life project.
“I graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2010 with my bachelor of arts in English and a minor in Human Life Studies. I had been involved in pro-life activities in a variety of ways since high school, and after graduating from (Franciscan) and working for a time in a different USCCB office, I moved into a staff assistant position in the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. During this time, my predecessor worked on what is now called 9 Days for Life, and I was able to assist with it during its first year. As I’ve shifted positions in the pro-life office, I’ve continued to work on the project.”
What is 9 Days for Life and how did it get started?
“9 Days for Life is an invitation from the U.S. Catholic bishops to observe the nine days surrounding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a period of prayer, penance and pilgrimage. It is an opportunity to pray for the end to abortion and for respect and protection of all human life.
“The initiative originally began in January 2013 as “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage,” marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and falling within the Year of Faith and the U.S. Catholic bishops’ call to prayer for life, marriage and religious liberty. Due to the positive response, 9 Days for Life has become an annual occurrence and is part of the Respect Life Program, the theme of which, for the 2014-2015 cycle, is “Each of Us Is a Masterpiece of God’s Creation” (adapted from Pope Francis’ 2013 Day for Life greeting).”
What does the novena consist of and reflect on each day?
“9 Days for Life is a nationwide invitation to join with thousands of others in united prayer for a different intention each day and consists of daily intentions, simple prayers, short reflections, suggested acts of reparation and supplementary articles for further reading.
“It is also an invitation to participate in local events such as Masses, blessings for pro-life pilgrims, a parish holy hour for reparation and healing for all affected by abortion, and programming for youth and young adult ministries. For example, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop Gomez wrote that “OneLife LA is part of our local participation in the U.S. Bishops call for ‘9 Days For Life.’” Of course, people are also welcome to plan their own events — such as gathering to pray the novena or the Rosary.”
What resources are available to help participants follow the novena?
“Those who would like to participate in 9 Days for Life can visit www.9daysforlife.com to sign up for daily emails or text messages, or to download a free app (available for Androids and iPhones) or a printable version of the novena. There are also Facebook events for both English and Spanish speakers — in which the intentions and links to the rest of each day’s content are posted daily — and many images to share and use in social media (including a cover photo and profile picture). Although the novena begins today, anyone is welcome to join at any point!”
How can those interested bring this to their schools, churches, communities, etc?
“There are a number of resources available to assist parish, diocesan, school and community leaders (and anyone else who is interested) in promoting and sharing 9 Days for Life. A quick way to spread the word would be to post any of our web ads or logos on social media and to use our social media kit to pre-schedule each day’s intention and link to additional content. There are also pre-written articles and a flyer on our leaders’ resources page, which could be sent out through email.
“There are also a number of other resources on the leaders’ resource page to be aware of for planning for 9 Days for Life 2016: a youth/ young adult ministry guide; blessings of pro-life pilgrims upon their departure and return; pulpit and bulletin announcements; a holy hour for reparation and healing; large and small ads for both web and print; and a number of other prayer resources. Also, nearly all of our resources for 9 Days for Life are available in both English and Spanish.”